Cyprus Mail
Crime Cyprus

Supreme Court rejects prisoners’ appeal over search of wing

prison

The Supreme Court has rejected a request by 54 prisoners for permission to file a motion to cancel a search warrant of their wing executed by police on August 3.

Police secured the search warrant after learning that one of the suspects held in wing 5A had used a mobile phone to guide accomplices, who had broken into the Limassol district court, to evidence that related to his case, which was being tried at the time.

According to the Supreme Court, on July 21, 2021, the suspect was on a videocall with individuals who had broken into the courthouse “and watched live video of the interior of the room where evidence was being kept relating to cases before the criminal court.”

His accomplices were showing him the files so that he could tell them which ones to take, the court said.

After finishing, the perpetrators set fire to the room, causing extensive damage to its contents.

The prisoners’ request focused on the lawfulness of searching the entire wing where the suspect was held and not just his cell.

The applicants, the court said, did not submit satisfactory evidence to support their request.

“The evidence allowed the lower court to form the necessary reasonable suspicion that the phone that was sought was kept or hidden anywhere in wing 5A,” the court said.

It was not a conclusion “that the lower court could have arrived at using imagination, as the applicants’ lawyer suggested.”

Wing 5A is a controlled and restricted area. “If the phone was seen there, it is reasonable that it would have been stashed somewhere in there.”

The Supreme Court said the lower court was correct to arrive at such a suspicion, which is reasonable and fully justified based on the evidence, therefore, “extending the search to all areas of wing 5A was essential.”

“The severity of the crimes which the search concerned and public interest in resolving them against the extent of the disruption the search would cause to prisoners in this wing, rendered the search warrant a proportionate measure, and no constitutional violation is raised, even prima fascie.”

 

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